Favorite thing: I am an ocean lover if there ever was one and when we took a stroll on the beach along the Coney Island Boardwalk, I was absolutely disgusted with the amount of garbage and nasty stuff lying on the shores. Every few inches it seemed like there was bottle caps, soda bottle, litter of all sorts and even some crack viles. Patrick wanted to go swimming, but I wouldn't let him out of fear of what would wash up on him. I did let him get his feet wet.
I've decided to list a few of the neighborhoods of which I am the most familiar, mostly because when I lived in Bklyn, I lived near these places.
Brighton is an interesting place...it was once mostly a Jewish neighborhood, with Yiddish being the primary language. Not uncommon in some parts of Brooklyn...
However, in the late 1970s, Brighton Beach was declining with an increase in crime and empty store fronts. After that time, a sort of revitalization took place and today, Brighton is largely a Russian neighborhood. I have gone to a bar there and walked around during the daytime, but they (the BB community alliance website) claim to have excellent Russian clubs and I know there are great restaurants. They are also known for their performers...
Like I said, I have not been in Brighton at night, but I do know there are some people who advise against it, as they do Coney Island after dark.
It sure does! Lots of trees grow there...the neighborhoods are lined with them, there are open spaces with nothing but trees...but that's not what this tip is about...
There are LOTS of recreational opportunties in Brooklyn, especially along the water...off the Belt Parkway there are lots of places to park your car and walk along the beach. Maybe people use these paths and areas to run, walk and fly kites. There's a great bicycle path (also for running and rollerblading) that runs along the belt parkway, and off of exit 11S. There are trails at Gerritsen Creek Salt Marsh and Nature Center and at Gateway National Recreation Area and Prospect Park is also a great place to enjoy some outdoor time. People hang out at Canarsie Pier to fish, play checkers and chess, open up the hydrants and cool off...
You can even kayak in Brooklyn--I led tours in Jamaica Bay, leaving Paerdegat Basin and heading out toward Canarsie Pol.
There's Jamaica Bay Riding Academy, where you can ride horses on the beach (http://www.horsebackride.com/jbra.htm), golf courses, a place where school groups can camp, Coney Island, of course...honesty, this tip could go on forever...
But these are all things that you really don't associate with Brooklyn, are they?
Fondest memory: There are an abundance of recreational opportunities in Brooklyn!
In the summer, on Sunday evenings, Gateway National Recreation Area hosts free concerts at Fort Tilden (right across the Marine Parkway Bridge in Queens) People bring their lawn chairs, blankets and coolers to enjoy the shows. Mostly, it's an older crowd but the music is still pretty decent. Also, afterwards, you can take a short walk to the Riis Park to the beach, which is open until midnight, I think.
Fondest memory: Unfortunately, I didn't get to attend a lot of these because the evening ferry tours down to the statue of liberty were at the same time and I was giving that program. However, the few times I did get to go, it was always pretty enjoyable. Of course, my house was about 100 feet away, so I didn't have to deal with the lines for restrooms.
You get what you pay for, but sometimes that's what you want! Tissues? Keychains? Allen Wrench? Band-Aids? Or are you just feeling bored and want to spend a dollar? (Usually $1.08.) Go to the local 99cent store. They are all over the place and will have just about anything you want or need. It may not be in the color you want, or carry the brand name you want, but it will do short-term or in a pinch.
Support small business!!
Brooklyn is often over-looked by travelers who come to the New York City area. However, it is worth a stop. Refer to a guide book for more specific historical sights.
I can offer some advice regarding my own neighborhood -- Park Slope -- and a few others surrounding it.
Favorite thing: Sure you can go to Coney Island or the Botanical Gardens but the real fun of Brooklyn is the people. Most of them are irritable, some are threatening, but they are never uninteresting. They may not even want to talk to you but if you are nice to them you will really catch them off guard. The best places for 'people' are bars, deli's, park benches and subway platforms.
Visit Williamsburg, currently one of the magnets of all that is hipster. It can sort of being annoying to see heroin addict after heroin addict wearing your vintage rags that you sold back to Beacon's Closet with more aplomb than you, but hey, it's nice to see that NYC can be a small town after all.
Fondest memory: Walking down to the East River to watch the fireworks on the Fourth Of July (shhhhh no one really knows besides the locals that this is a prime viewing area!)
Fondest memory: The sunsets on the Narrows or over Manhatten. Kosher smells in the deli. Eating a knish with mustard on a cold day. The Coney Island Boardwalk. ( I am not sure if it still is there.) I have many fond memories since I grew up there.
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